The Baftas glitters for the Irish while the Brits got political

By Barry Lord   @Bazneto

He really does look well in a man bun – even Graham Norton says so – and Dubliner Aidan Turner fully deserved to be part of the winning Poldark team at the Baftas last night.

It was a night of near things for much of the Irish talent on show.  But fair play to Turner, from Clondalkin, who accepted the audience award for the handsomely produced re-imaging of Poldark.

The actor set many hearts aflutter in the titular role, as well as on the show’s red carpet, sporting a bushy beard and man bun, where he was refreshingly unassuming as he spoke to presenters Angela Scanlon and Radzi Chinyanganya.

“I don’t wear suits; I just grow a beard and just hang out, really. This is kind of new.”

The next time you stroll down Grafton Street and you spot another man bun, remember where you saw it first.

MC for the evening Graham Norton, nominated in the category of best entertainment programme, had to look on as comedian Leigh Francis walked away with the prize for his show, Celebrity Juice.

Graham Norton gets our vote every time anyhow Baftas!
Graham Norton gets our vote every time anyhow Baftas!

After Leigh’s acceptance speech, Graham returned to his place presenting with over-the-top applauding.

‘Yeah give it up. He is good,’ Graham told the audience, smiling.

‘That had kept me going. I may collapse now. “At least I might win an award near the end”, but now I haven’t!’

At least actor Tom Hiddleston tried to make up the Cork man’s disappointment by saying: “Graham, you have won an award in my heart.”

So cheer up Graham. Most of us fanboys would love an endorsement from Loki himself.

Many hopes were pinned on Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan scooping the gong for best female performance in a comedy programme, but again we were disappointed as that accolade went to Michaela Coel for Chewing Gum.

But while the Irish impressed some of the Brits seemed to get very political.

Actress Sharon Horgan looking for from Catastrophic at the Baftas
Actress Sharon Horgan looking for from Catastrophic at the Baftas

The prospect of a government white paper being launched this week, which could see several governmental appointees sitting in boardrooms at BBC HQ, clearly riled many of the glitterati attending the event. None more so than actor Mark Rylance, who won the best actor award for his portrayal of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

In his acceptance speech, he took exception to this imminent threat to the corporation’s independence when he said: “Woe to any government and any corporation who tries to get between the British people and their love of a good joke, a true story, a good song, a fact, a fiction, good sports commentating, newscasters who can hold themselves together as they tell stories about tragedies in Paris, people who can bake cakes.

“The incredible variety of popular culture in this country, it’s really blown my mind tonight.”

Sir Lenny Henry also took his opportunity on stage to speak from the heart. After accepting the Alan Clarke award for outstanding contribution to TV, the Brummie comic spoke to aspiring industry hopefuls.

He said:  “All those 14-year-olds out there super-glued to their phones who hope to work in TV irrespective of their race, gender sexuality, class, disability, can realise that ambition as I was able to realise mine – if we do this we will make this fantastic industry even greater”.



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